Do you feel like your story is drowned out by others who have the same message? Are you struggling to connect with your audience? Do you feel like you’re writing or speaking and no one hears you? 🛑Stop the madness!!
Listen, your audience is out there looking for you! Others will have similar stories to yours but NO ONE has YOUR VOICE! They are waiting for you to connect with your authentic voice so you can connect with them. What you have to do is figure out why you’re struggling. Search within yourself and consider the voices you’ve been listening to: music, books, movies, lectures, and social media posts.
Sometimes the reason you struggle is because you’re listening to so many people that you’re picking up their words, messages, and voice. Take a few weeks to limit your outside influences and take time to journal through your thoughts on how you want to show up for your audience. Think about who you are and what you will do for your audience. Then be that person fully!
If you need help, reach out for a consultation to talk about what you’re struggling with. I’ll share with you three activities you can do that will help you connect with your audience and start gaining more clients!
This has been weighing on my heart for a few weeks and it’s time we talk about it.
So many prospective clients over the years, even when I was ghostwriting books, have said, “There’s so much competition. My voice won’t matter.” This really isn’t the concern but it’s how it comes through in their speech because saying that sounds so much better in our society than saying what they really mean – and we’ve all been there at some point in our lives.
“Am I worthy of attention, love, and someone valuing what I have to say.”
Yes, that is what you are really saying when you ask about competition. You are wondering if you matter. If your voice can be heard above the others. IT CAN! IT WILL! Only YOU can say your message in the way that you deliver it. You and I can both respond to the same question and will answer it differently because of our individual filters, experiences, thought processes, and values. Neither of us is wrong and we both will reach our intended audience. How is that?
We are wired to hear from certain voices more clearly than others. This is why you can hear the same thing from two friends and a stranger and it will be the stranger’s thoughts you act upon. We have a way about us that determines who we hear from more dominantly than others. For the people connected to you, YOU are the voice they are waiting to hear.
TD Jakes and Lysa TerKeurst both released books on the SAME TOPIC within six months of one another. BOTH books reached best seller status. Why? Because their voices are different. I read both books and I can tell you that TD Jakes is CRUSHING me (no pun intended) with his book. For others in my eGroup (online Bible Study group), Lysa’s book resonated more deeply. We all enjoyed both books. Certain voices sit better with certain people. Both authors shared personal stories, scripture, and sound theology in how to deal with life when it doesn’t go the way you expected. The audience is the same: People going through something that feels like it has shattered their world. People who feel stuck. People who are about to lose faith, if they haven’t already. Yet, I am pretty sure niether of them thought would have considered not writing their book if they knew about the other. They aren’t compeition. They are both people talking to the folks connected to them.
I need you to be a warrior today. I need you to turn on that place within yourself where you stop being insecure about your voice and start using it. I know it’s hard to discover your voice… I spent YEARS trying to find mine. Then one day it was just there waiting for me to use it. And when I started doing so, that’s when I realized WHO I truly was.
My source comes from my faith. Yours may come from something else. That’s okay. For both of us. What matters is that you know your source, your voice, your vision, and your mission. Then, get out there and walk it out! Combined, these make up your purpose. You ARE worthy. You ARE valued. And your voice DOES matter. People are stuck in chains in their life in numerous ways and it only gets worse as society deteriorates in how we interact with one another. Imagine being able to speak with someone using the platform(s) you were designed to use to reach the people connected to you and learning that you changed the course of someone’s life and released them from chains!
Be the kind of warrior that kills the bad things and releases the good by sharing your story through your art. For you that may be KILLING IT at work when you give presentations. It may be scultping something that moves people to tears. It may be taking a photo that tells a story more potent than any blog someone can write. It may be acting in a play and adding flair to a part people never understood. Your art may be writing a book, sharing poetry, or producing music. It’s time we stop boxing ourselves in to thinking that our stories can only be told through one medium: books. It just isn’t true. The written word is powerful, but we are in a society where some folks will never read a book or blog but will visit an art show, attend a conference, or listen to a podcast. You’ll know your platform when you understand your voice and who is connected to you. Start being willing to use your voice and watch how it all unfolds before you!
If you like what you read here, follow me on social media for additional tips and thoughts about discovering your voice, developing the courage to use it, and identifying the right platforms to connect with your audience.
I saw this quote at the beginning of a book I read many years ago. I couldn’t help but think of how so many people are afraid of who they truly are, especially Christians who believe they have a BIG purpose but don’t know how to get there. They become afraid to step fully into their being and live a small life seemingly afraid of their voices. I dislike when I see this because my life goal is to see people walk in their purpose, especially people who have felt like they live in the shadows.
I live from a Christian perspective in which I believe God created us to be amazing. I don’t believe He desires for us to live small lives based upon the scriptures. So I challenge each of us to explore what it is that scares us and makes us feel okay living invisible or small lives rather than stepping fully into our purpose. Release the light within you so you can shine the way for others who have dimmed their light.
You have permission to change, grow, and expand. You are encouraged to change how you think, how you feel, and how you view things. You are allowed to outgrow your role, job, hobbies, and anything else that you desire to elevate in your life. You are able to expand your desires, your social circle, and your current beliefs anytime you feel like it’s too small or feel challenged to go to the next level (even the Bible encourages moving from milk to meat). If anyone tells you otherwise, ask them to provide you with any reference that says we are to remain the same throughout life. (Hint: There are none. There’s no Scripture, book, or philosophy that encourages people to remain as they are.)
Once I realized this truth and gave myself permission to grow, my life changed. I’m not yet where I’d like to be but I’m in a space where I know I’m challenging even my best beliefs about myself. I’m growing each day and ensuring I am living life as I am purposed in this time while preparing for the future.
Grab some tea or coffee and give yourself permission to think about how you’d like to change, grow, or expand. Then put your plan together and execute! It may not be easy but you won’t know whether it is hard or what challenges you may face until you take the first step.
A friend once told me that before she wrote her album, she spent a year without listening to any music because she wanted her voice to be authentic. This is a beautiful idea. If you spend too much time reading what everyone else is writing and listening to how everyone else is singing, you may forget what makes your voice so special. Since we don’t all have a year to step away due to our roles, journaling is a perfect activity to allow you to step away and hear your own voice loudly.
One of the best ways to learn your voice is through journaling. Take time this week to journal about your “ANDs”. These are the things you are tired of feeling like you have to choose between.
Society has taught us that we must choose either / or when we can have both / and. I can be a great coach AND still be walking through some of my own processes in growing my own voice each day. You can be a great client AND still be unsure of whether you are cut out for sharing your own story. Life doesn’t demand we choose; it commands we make room.
When you envision what you desire, you can take the steps to make it happen. You can pursue education, new connections, personal and professional development, and new hobbies to help us achieve what you see. You can meditate, pray, and share your vision with friends. You can look at where life is versus where you want it to be, and pivot where needed. But if you don’t see it, how will you know where you’re going?
Vision boarding isn’t some “woo” thing that only folks who believe a certain way create. It is a tangible way to see your dreams and goals. That then helps you take action each day as you actually see yourself achieving what’s on the board. You can create one for the quarter, year, or five years. You can do it for life, business, family, or all of the above. It’s yours to create and there is no right or wrong way. Just think about what you want and add words or pictures that represent those things. When you’re done, hang it where you can see it daily, several times throughout the day. And then do at least one thing daily to prepare for receiving and achieving what you’ve envisioned for your future!
What if I told you that some of the best stories come from people who thought their life was over?
In this TED Talk by Majd Mashharawit, she talks about how she is making bricks from ashes. Literally.
Do you feel like your life is currently beyond repair? Ms. Mashharawi’s life was literally in a state of devastation and yet she was able to think outside the box and discover a new way to build materials from her war-torn city.
What can you do with your life and the resources around you by drawing from strength and thinking outside the box to see solutions you hadn’t thought of already? What is sitting in front of you daily that you can use to get your life back to a place where you feel good about it?
From a story perspective, I love that Ms. Mashharawi is sharing her story through TED Talks and motivating many while also educating people about the women in her community and how they are treated and viewed. In one talk, you can learn about life in Gaza, how women are treated in another area of the world, and a story that will help you reflect on your own life to think about what is right in front of you that may be the solution to all of your complaints currently.
Listen to the talk today and get motivated!
“You have to write a book!”
How many time have you heard that when you share your story with someone? While some will tell you that books are for everyone and that everyone has a story that can be turned into a book, it’s just NOT true. But that doesn’t mean your hopes of transforming lives through the power of your transformation or experience won’t help others! It just means that you need to step outside of the box.
You can share your story through so many formats:
That’s just a sample of some of the ways I’ve helped clients and friends share their story with the world. The key comes down to understanding your audience, your vision, and your dream; as well as your gifts and the platform on which you will do best sharing your story (and that doesn’t mean you don’t stretch yourself to use other platforms that could be helpful to furthering your reach).
Step outside the box you’ve been taught to think within. If you need help doing this, let’s discuss how you can share your story.
If you’ve been feeling like others are achieving their dreams while you stand still, maybe you haven’t committed to your dream? Maybe you don’t understand it yet? Before you can accurately identify your voice, you must know what your dream for your life is. However, many people confuse big goals with dreams. Those aren’t what I am referring to when I talk about knowing your dream and breaking it into SMART goals and actionable steps.
Let’s watch this video about the difference between a dream and goals.
I like how Eric Thomas pointed out here the difference between dreams and goals. It’s important to understand before you try to break your dream down into actionable goals that a dream is something bigger than you. Achieving your dream will mean other lives change too. So on this site, when we talk about dreams we are talking about those ultimate visions for your life that lead to you changing others’ lives by walking out your purpose.
Hopefully after watching the video you have a better understanding of what your dream is versus your goals. This month, focus on the steps needed to fulfill your dreams.
Write out everything it will take to make the dream come to fruition. Skills, people, places, abilities, etc. Then list any steps you can take to make it happen. Use a mind-mapping technique if you have to, where just write everything that you are thinking on paper(or in a computer application / app) and then keep linking things together until you’ve exhausted all your thinking. When you’re done your paper will be a mess but you’ll have some ideas to work with. Grab these ideas and show how you can turn them into SMART goals. Once you have goals, you can start the road toward achieving your dream!
We’ve almost completed our series on the importance of building community in blogging. Today we’re covering the seventh step. This post will be geared toward professionals with B2B services OR who offer both B2B and B2C services or products but understand this post is going to speak solely to B2B prospecting.
The seventh step I mentioned is to visit the blogs and social media accounts of those you’d like to see interact with your blog, specifically prospective clients. This works in the small business world, with solopreneurs, and with bloggers in general, but will not be effective if your targeting large corporations, as typically their community engagement professionals are looking for their interests and engage only with comments and with people they would like to network with. They typically aren’t worried about the folks who want to network with them nor are they going out to see the background of folks who are commenting on their social media and blogs because there are just too many of them to do so. (If a large corporation is in your target audience, identify who you need to reach out to and try networking with them through LinkedIn to get them to notice you as you’ll have more luck to connect with an individual than the blog.
Now that the caveat is out of the way let’s discuss this step.
When you know you would like to work with someone and they haven’t already been over to your blog or engaged with you through social media, it’s good to go out and engage with them. Visit their IG (I find this to be the best platform for engagement with bloggers, solopreneurs, and socially responsible small businesses, as they are on there and looking to gain followers so they tend to engage more with their audience there), LinkedIn, and blogs.
Follow them on Instagram, like and comment on their pictures. Call them out in posts on your own posts when applicable. Repost their posts if they share something your audience would find helpful. At times our clients can learn from one another, so don’t assume just because this is a prospective client they aren’t sharing anything that another client may find beneficial. Some of my small business clients have benefited from one another’s services many times over because they work in the same or complementary industries.
Follow them on LinkedIn to see what they are posting, engage with their posts by reading their updates and commenting with what you learned or liked about them. (I find it’s best to connect with individuals when possible on LinkedIn.) If they have articles they have posted, share the ones that would be good for your connections to see. Share their statuses if they are public and make your own observation about them (keep it positive!).
You can also try FaceBook but really folks really don’t seem to be doing a lot on FaceBook anymore due to having to pay to be seen. I’ve noticed a lot of the smaller businesses tend to just share their posts from IG over to FaceBook and then post a few random posts directly to FB. They engage if you post but it isn’t their highest priority. It could be different in your industry though.
Last but not least, follow their blog, engage with posts, start sharing them on your own blog (links to them or resharing the post and adding your own feedback IF they allow it (sites such as WordPress allow a “PressThis” option where you can share an excerpt of another bloggers post to get them more visibility). Never share a post without adding some type of comment about why you are sharing it. This practice is limited to sites who are known for this, such as recipe sharing blogs and best practices blogs.
Unlike when you are trying to network with someone, reaching out to prospects involves ensuring they need your product or service. Since this is a social strategy similar to “cold calling”, you may not always be aware right away of the person’s needs. If you don’t establish connection with them through social media or their blog, try reaching out through email first and then calling. You aren’t known to them, so share information that is helpful and ensure you follow all applicable email laws if you reach out via email. DO NOT SPAM ANYONE.
Reaching out to a prospect can be scary for many business owners. I don’t like sales at all. I loved having a business that was all word of mouth when I was working with more well-known authors in the ghostwriting space. After I put that down due to really enjoying working with first-time and up-and-coming Christians and also wanting to focus more of my time on blogging for small businesses, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, I realized I had to actually start marketing my business and it was frightening. So frightening that I self-sabotaged for a couple years and started working in corporate America again as a Account Manager just to avoid having to reach out to new people! Don’t do that to yourself! It’s not that awful – trust me… when you are cut out to run your own business and have a creative flair, corporate America can suck your soul from your body even when you really enjoy your job (as I did).
Instead of self-sabotaging or remaining where you are sales wise, read some business books and learning the art of negotiation and sales. Here are some of my favorites FYI: this blog isn’t monetized; links are for your convenience not my financial benefit):
Also listen to podcasts and read blogs that discuss sales and leadership, as leading well with the clients you have (if appropriate to your business) can be helpful with sales as well. Here are some suggestions to check out and see which ones you like.
And finally, ask for referrals. Reach out to friends and family who may know people or businesses who can benefit from your services. You never know who people know until you ask.